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Noctua NH-U12P SE1366

The NH-U12 model from the Austrian Noctua Company is remarkable for longevity in the cooling solutions market, because it first appeared in 2006. Two years later they equipped the same heatsink with a higher-performing fan and new retention mechanism and added “P” to the model name (NH-U12P). Finally, by the end of last year Noctua released the third cooler revision called SE1366, which is designed only for the new LGA1366 platforms.

The package size, shape and design remained exactly the same:

The accessories bundle includes everything necessary to install the new cooler onto the LGA1366 platform. There is also highly efficient Noctua NT-H1 thermal grease, fan resistors, four wire clips for the fans and a Noctua logo sticker:


Noctua NH-U12P is a tower-type heatsink made of 36 aluminum plates, each 0.45mm thick and spaced out at a 2.8mm distance from one another. The plates sit on four copper nickel-plated heatpipes, 6mm in diameter that go through copper nickel-plated base:



As you see, there are two Noctua NF-P12 fans attached to the cooler heatsink and it is not something we have done ourselves. Now the cooler comes bundled with two fans:

Their rotation speed varies between 900-1300RPM and can be adjusted using bundled resistors (the blue one – 900RPM, black one – 1100RPM, none – 1300RPM).

The cooler base is not really crooked, but it cannot be called even, either, because all four corners are dropped a little bit:

Of course, it did affect the quality of the contact between the CPU heat-spreader and the cooler base, as you can see from the thermal compound imprint test:

As you can see, the cooler base is a little protuberant (we evened out the processor heat-spreader using glass surface as a reference, which we are going to talk about later in this article). By the way, since the die size of the Intel Core i7 processors has increased compared with the previous CPU generation, the evenness of the processor cooler base plate will now be of much greater importance for the cooling efficiency than before.

Noctua NH-U12P is fairly easy to install.  Its retention is very reliable and provides secure contact between the cooler and the CPU heat-spreader:


The metal backplate should be mounted right against the default backplate on the back of the mainboard:

The cooler is very compact the base and doesn’t interfere with any electronic components around the processor socket:


There is a 55mm gap between the mainboard PCB and the lower heatsink plate. This is what Noctua NH-U12P looks like inside the system case:


This cooler is 4-5°C more effective when it is installed with the heatsink parallel to the PCI-Express slots (the heatpipes will go across the CPU) that is why during our today’s test session e installed it the way shown on the photo on the right.

The recommended price for the Noctua NH-U12P is $64.90, which is exactly the same as before. I think it is good news, because it comes with two fans and pretty expensive thermal grease and the price didn’t get any higher. However, let’s wait until the results of our cooling efficiency tests come in and then draw final conclusions.

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